Monday, May 13, 2013

Please, Pass the Rice.

My uncle Butsoy cooked this yummy paella. Just one of the ways we can cook rice.

You see, there is this long running joke at home that I just laughed and shrugged off. But since Cedric came to live with us, the joke haunts us almost every meal time. In the surface it's hilarious, but deep down we know it is driving Ken crazy.

“We are having rib-eye steak tonight? So what will you have with it? Hmmm... don't tell me, let me guess... is it by any chance rice???" We know it is driving him mental because he would then ask “don't you eat anything else?”

How do you explain to a non-Filipino that we are rice eaters first, second and last. That rice is central to our lives. That it is normal for Cedric and me to demolished a 25 kg bag of rice in a month because we eat rice with everything. Rice with beef, pork, chicken, noodles, fish. We could even pile on one plate rice with pasta and bread and eat it in same sitting.

I wish Ken had come with me when I went home last March so he will see first hand the Filipino obsession with rice. It would have been fun to witness his reaction when he see more varieties of rice in the market than just about everywhere. He might be filled with disbelief to know that some of my countrymen would prefer to be paid with just rice. Give a Filipino some bread and they will still be hungry, give them rice and they are happy.

I remember those rare days when money were tight. My three boys had to do with eating a heap of rice with one puny stick of skewered burnt marinated pork, using a ratio of one tiny morsel of this dish with 4-5 tablespoons of rice. Sometimes it's two plates of steaming hot rice with microscopic menudo, shrinking sinigang and invisible adobo. They definitely have become an expert in stretching a single ulam to go with their rice.

I love rice, as any true-blooded Filipino does. I love garlic too. Although I don’t like it in my breath. But I like making garlic fried rice in the morning with my over-easy egg and bacon. And just imagine how Ken would roll his eyes at the sight of it. He prefer buttered toast with his egg and bacon. Of course!

When we go out to eat, most of the time Ken choose the venue because he wants to be served and waited on. But on occasions that he asked me to pick the place, I always picked the Chinese buffet because of the vast array of food and a choice of fried and plain rice. My son, like any typical Filipino would stacked his plate with two or three kinds of dish and a heaping mound of rice as if preparing for the Hunger Games. Ken could just shake his head.

My two other boys are no different. They prefer to eat in a restaurant that offer unlimited rice. They did not fret when we ate at a Kentucky outlet and all that was left in the bucket was a tiny chicken wing as long as there was still rice. They just pour gravy onto the rice and wadya know this thick brown goo had turned into an ulam(dish).

Gravy on rice? Ken, you gotta see this!


Boysie Gonzaga said...

Rice is one thing Filipinos can not live without. Being a Filipino myself, serving food without rice is enough to put everyone around the table in panic. We eat rice five times a day no matter what kind of dish that goes on with it. A sprinkling of salt and a drizzle of used cooking oil over is enough to call it a complete meal. Nice write-up Dette! Missed the rice/anchovy tandem we used to eat a lot in the Philippines!
Kudos to Buchoy's mouth watering "paella".
Hugs from the Middle East!!!

ML said...

Funny! We eat a lot of rice, too. We also put gravy on rice and on tofu. When I grew up we lived on a farm, and our breakfast was often hot rice with milk and sugar. My grandmother was Irish and very frugal!
I hope that Cedric is loving the U.S.A.!

Odette said...

our table, even when it is teeming with food would not be complete without the rice. and our tummy felt unsatisfied w/o a heap of it. it is a winder why we asians are not as big as other races when we eat so much rice!
thanks for the comment... miss you Boy!

Odette said...

have you tried sticky rice, Mimi? it can be bought in oriental store and its really good. oh yes, cedric love it here. have you done some planting in your garden already?

ML said...

Hi Odette, Yes we do have sticky rice sometimes at home and especially when we go to dim sum. My favorite rice to cook is broken rice,because I like the texture, but my family is not that crazy about it. We have 1 huge Filipino Market here and a huge Asian -mostly Chinese- market, too. They both have little restaurants in them so we get to try different things every week. My garden is doing pretty well. I have planted a few things, but it has been crazy weather here so I am hoping that it will warm up in a couple of weeks so I can plant more. Are you grwing anything special?

Odette said...

our weather here is pretty crazy too coz we still get snow this month. its quite late for me now to take out our ferris wheel planter, although i have been longing to display it in our front lawn and fill it with colorful flowering plants. for now i just have to make do with my flower beds and hanging plants. ii dont have a vegetable garden coz the soil at our backyard is quite rocky that the plant wont grow very well there.
its the season of unpredictable weathe again mimi, so i pray that you and your family will always be safe and be spared from mother nature's wrath.

Sid Brechin said...

I recall when I still Lived in Toronto there was a shop in the ST Lawarence Market that had close to 200 kinds of rice. I've probably in my whole life only had a couple dozen kinds and my fellow Canadians consider me to be more open to many kinds of food then most

Odette said...

We also have so many variety of rice and they come in different shades. We also have many ways in cooking them perhaps because of the influences of the different race that had invaded our country. We however like to eat plain rice with other dish. How we do it? We put in our spoon a slice of the dish and a scoop of rice.

Sid Brechin said...

I doubt this will shock you as you know me pretty well despite having never met in person. However I eat a lot of rice. I use it in soups, as a side dish or even as part of a main course. With usually some kind of meat in in it. If you want to try something similar to rice but more North American actually even more British, try Barley. Made the same way slightly different flavor. I do know of a store no longer close to me it's in Toronto where they have over 100 different kinds of rice. I've been introduced to rice of various kinds twice once when I was studying Karate the other when I was studying Japanese. I was the only non oriental in class and the rest were from almost Asian country except Japan. The different ways the various cultures prepared rice was fasinating.

Hope Ken is soon home to joke about Rice. You may want to surprise him with lamb and barley. A Scotish dish that does not taste like anything else. You will also need mint sauce or mint jelly. Pretty much any supermarket carries all the ingredients.


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